“Basically, under the Chinese Communist authoritarian rule, under [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, the situation has become much worse.”
That’s how Golok Jigme, a Tibetan activist and former political prisoner, described the current state of his homeland during a recent interview with the International Campaign for Tibet. Video of the interview can be seen below.
Jigme, who fled Chinese-occupied Tibet in 2014 after surviving imprisonment and torture, visited ICT’s headquarters in Washington, DC this summer. He was in town for the US State Department’s first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, during which US Vice President Mike Pence praised Jigme by name.
Jigme was arrested a decade ago for helping to create “Leaving Fear Behind,” a brave documentary that shows average Tibetans describing the brutality of Chinese rule. After being repeatedly detained, Jigme managed to escape from custody in 2012 and lived in constant fear until he was able to escape to India two years later.
Although Jigme’s story has helped bring worldwide attention to the plight of the Tibetan people, the situation in Tibet is continuing to deteriorate, he said during his interview with ICT.
Speaking to ICT Vice President Bhuchung Tsering, Jigme warned that the Chinese government is causing immense damage to the Tibetans’ culture, natural environment and personal freedoms.
“Whether it is culture, environment, in terms of [freedom of] movement or religious belief, there is unbelievable restrictions at all fronts,” Jigme said.
He added that China is attempting to destroy Tibetan Buddhist institutes, and that a day might come when there is no one left in Tibet’s monasteries.
Despite these grave challenges, Jigme said ICT members have made important contributions to the Tibetan cause, and that there will be more opportunities to assist the Tibetan people in the future.
Watch the full video of Jigme’s interview with ICT: